Friday market close: Footsie down as pound rises on Brexit talk

The FTSE 100 backed down from Thursday's record highs as the pound rebounded on reports that the EU was working on proposals for a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.
Market trader. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty ImagesMarket trader. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images
Market trader. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

London’s blue chip index ended the session down or 20.8 points at 7,535.44, edging down from record highs of 7,556.24 a day earlier, having been spurred by a decline in the pound amid fears over stalled Brexit talks.

But sterling recovered after a leaked document seen by reporters in Brussels suggested that EU leaders meeting at the European Council summit next week could authorise “internal preparatory discussions” on the shape of a future trade relationship and a transition deal, in a move which could offer prime minister Theresa May hope for talks by the end of the year.

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David Madden, a market analyst for CMC Markets UK, said: “The pound has crawled back most of the losses it incurred in October so the sentiment is turning for sterling.”

Mining stocks were at the top of the FTSE 100, with Rio Tinto up 107.5p at 3,688.5p and Glencore up 8.65p at 376.6p.

It comes after Deutsche Bank raised its target price for a spate of mining companies amid a brighter outlook for copper, zinc and nickel prices.

GKN tumbled to the bottom of the blue chip index, dropping 34.8p to 318p, as the engineering firm warned that profits will only be “slightly above” 2016.

Shares in Aldermore rocketed 47.5p to 303.5p after the bank revealed it had received a takeover approach from South Africa’s FirstRand.